Cartographic practices have since the 15th century been representational of three-dimensional environments, whether that be of entire cities or local neighbourhoods, all depicted as two-dimensional illustrations. The most commonly invoked mapping system, the figure-ground method, consists of a plasmatic arrangement of solids (built space) and void (ground) and is defined by the colours black and white.
The figure and ground relationship is stated to be mutually exclusive where neither can be perceived unless in relation to the other. However, this union is also complementary. While figure can enhance ground, the ground can detract from figure and vice versa. How legible is figure-ground mapping as an urban analytical tool today in articulating new urban conditions?
The binary mapping method used is, although its common use, deceiving of a hierarchical system in which the figure is always perceived and privileged over the ground. The empirical search for the ground and street relationship is rather limited solely based on iconographical and ichnographical mapping methods. However, cinematographical methods transverse the dialogue into a three-dimensional realm and suggests a new way of perceiving the ground we walk, build and live on.